During these talks I’m finding it isn’t difficult for participants to identify all the ways that this communication sin manifests.
The most egregious and easy to spot is the raised voices, yelling and berating of one person by another. I’m amazed at the number of people who raise their hands when I ask if anyone in the audience has been the direct victim of this behavior.
I also point out to others who have not been the direct victim, but were present when it occurred, that they are secondary victims. Often, employees develop a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder if they serve in this type of work environment very long.
In my early days leading my professional baseball teams I didn’t verbally assault staff members but I often visually assaulted them with a glare called, “The Look.” This communication sin also shows up with pointed fingers, rolling of the eyes and a folding of the arms.
Audience members seem surprised to learn that sarcasm fits in this category. But, when asked to explain how they feel on the opposite end of a cutting piece of sarcastic communication, they admit it doesn’t feel good.
Of all the ways to commit this sin, sarcasm is the most tolerated. People feel like they have to tolerate it to be a “good sport.” I disagree. We should call out this behavior as it also falls into the category of passive-aggressive communication, which can also be placed under another sin I’ll be writing about in a few weeks.
If sarcasm is one of your styles of communicating, its not being received as well as you think. I recommend finding more empowering ways to make your point.